Posted in Family

Strive to be Internally Oriented

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m back today after a busy weekend of writing and Christmas shopping. We’re all done for this year. (I think 😉)

For some reason this year is less stressful. I’m not sure why. Maybe because my boys want a lot of electronics and that’s not my department, that’s my hubby’s. So, the pressure’s off me this year. I hope your shopping is going well.

Well, enough about shopping, today I want to talk about something that’s been kind of nagging at me. I’ve noticed with the social media craze that’s going on that people are becoming more externally oriented instead of internally oriented.

 

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We’re becoming obsessed with followers, likes, and memes. This is unfortunate because we’re ignoring the internal work that we all need to do as individuals. We need to figure out what sets our souls on fire and pursue that. Social media is a distraction not a way of life.

Photo on Foter.com

If we become more internally oriented, we’ll be happier. We’ll stop comparing ourselves to others because we’ll be so busy pursuing what makes us happy we won’t have time for anything else. Being internally oriented makes us more self-aware and self-focused.

This is important for our growth and development because without this awareness we’ll be floating through life reacting to the tides instead of steering our course. As parents, when we’re self-aware, we teach our children to focus on their dreams and goals. We give them permission to pursue them.

 

Photo on Foter.com

So, let’s set that example for our children and start becoming more internally oriented. By focusing on what makes us feel good about ourselves, we don’t have to look outside for validation. This makes us stronger and happier individuals.

Let’s put this social media craze on the back burner and build better relationships with ourselves. By doing this, we’ll be making our relationships with our partners and our children stronger. We’ll have a stronger connection with our family members and that’s where it all starts, isn’t it?

Thanks for stopping by and reading my post today. What are your thoughts? How do you think we can become more internally oriented? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!

 

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Posted in Family, Slice of LIfe

Living without Regret: A Slice of Life Post

 

Write. Share. Give.

 

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you. I’m back today with another Slice of Life post. I have one more week before I have to go back to work, and I’m sad my summer is almost over. It went by way too fast.

I’ve been watching the Olympics. It’s amazing to see these young people achieving their dreams. It inspires me to believe that I can achieve mine if I work hard enough.:)

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I’m encouraging my youngest to watch the events as well. I’m hoping they’ll inspire him, too. He’s quite agile. I can see great talent in him. He’s already doing front and back flips on the trampoline. He’s got that gymnast build, too.

He also has the drive. He sticks with something until he masters it. I remember when he was just a wee lad, how he’d get these transformers and work so hard at getting them to transform. Some of them were quite difficult. Tears of frustration would run down his face, but he wouldn’t give up.

I think it’s the same drive many of these athletes have. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be watching my little guy at the Olympics someday.

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I have to be careful though. I have to make sure that I’m not pushing my dream for him onto my little guy. I want him to choose his own dream. I don’t want him to look back on his life and have any regrets.

Living without regret is an awesome thing, and I want that for both my boys. I think that old saying is true. “We only regret the things we didn’t do.” These are very wise words. How about you. Are you living without regret? Is there something you wanted to go for, but didn’t? Maybe the timing wasn’t right? Now might be the time to do it! Leave a comment! I love hearing from you!

To read other Slice of Life Posts click here.

 

Posted in Family, raising kids

The Opportunity Costs of Life Decisions

 

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you. As I watched the Olympics the other day, I started thinking about all the sacrifices these athletes make to compete in the games, and that started me thinking about opportunity costs and life decisions. What is opportunity cost?

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The definition is:

The loss of potential gain from other alternatives when one alternative is chosen.

Opportunity cost is why some people become paralyzed when making a decision.  They’ve got so many options available to them they can’t decide which one is the best.  So, how do we make these choices and hopefully not regret the choice we’ve made?

Well, first of all, you have to decide how to measure the value of each alternative. This is where it gets sticky. Because how do we measure the value? Is it by how much money we’re going to make with a choice? Is it by how we’ll be remembered by family and friends? Is it by the instant gratification the choice will give us?

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The answers to these questions are deeply personal and can only be answered by each individual. There is no blanket answer for any of us, but here’s how I make most of my major decisions and maybe it’ll help you with yours.

I look at how I want to be remembered. Yes. I know it’s kind of morbid, but I think about what people might say at my funeral. Do I want them to talk about how I worked so hard I never saw my family? Or do I want them to say, how I was an inspiration to my kids, and how I helped provide for both their emotional and physical needs? Do I want to be remembered as someone who created a showpiece of a home, or someone who wasn’t too hung up on what people thought if my house was messy?

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When I ask myself these questions. It puts things into perspective. I don’t want my kids growing up thinking that what other people think is more important that their own opinion, so I have to live that way myself. I want my kids to have good memories of their childhood and not live in an environment where they can’t build forts or make brownies because I’m hung up on what a mess it’ll be. Because of this, I have to deal with people occasionally seeing a messy house.

I can deal with that. The joy on my kids’ faces when they build a huge fort is worth the cost of people thinking I’m a bad housekeeper. I am bad. There’s no mistake about it. I don’t enjoy cleaning. I’d rather be writing. So we’ve got clutter.

But I digress. By looking at how I want to be remembered, I was able to make that decision to stay home with my kids and feel good about it. There are times when I’ve had doubts because staying home meant I’d have to make sacrifices.  I’ve sacrificed all the income I would’ve brought into the home if I worked instead. This was a huge opportunity cost of my decision, and made the choice hard because security for me and my family is also important to me.

So loss of income was a huge cost of my decision, but what about the gains? The gains are important because they offset the costs. This is where deciding what we value comes into play. What I’ve gained from staying home is a great relationship with my kids. I don’t know about you, but the value of that is priceless. I can’t put a number on it.

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I’ve also got well-adjusted kids (knocks on wood). They don’t have behavioral issues because I was able to focus on teaching them how to handle their emotions like frustration and anger. I get compliments from their teachers all the time. They tell me they wished they had a whole classroom full of my boys. I’ve even gotten these compliments from teachers who haven’t had my kids. They’ve just witnessed my boys being kind and considerate to their classmates. Now, my goal wasn’t to receive pats on the back from my kids’ teachers (although it is a great feeling when they say things like this). It was to raise healthy well-adjusted humans. So, when their teachers make these comments I know I’m on the right track and again that gain is priceless.

 

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Please understand I’m not saying a working mom can’t raise well-adjusted kids. All I’m saying is that staying home worked for me and it was worth the opportunity costs. 🙂

So there you have it. That’s how I make the major decisions in my life. How about you? What are your opportunity costs? How do you make your decisions? Leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Family, Literacy, Parenting

Improving Literacy starts at Home

Hello everyone! I hope all is well with you! I’m back today and I’m talking about literacy in the United States. Did you know one in seven adults would find it difficult to read anything more challenging than a picture book? This is scary.

I find this quite alarming. How can these adults teach their children about the joy of reading, if they can’t read themselves? I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Parents who can’t read are limited to what they can teach their children. In my opinion, reading is one of the most important skills we can pass on to our kids.

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What’s going to happen to our country if we raise a generation of illiterate adults? What happens when all they can do is read text messages? The ability to read and write correctly is going to be a skill that will be in short supply in the future. In my opinion, there’s going to be a great divide between the kids who can read and write and those who get through life typing and reading short text messages. We as parents need to turn the tide on this problem. But what can we do?

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We can make reading a priority. In our house it’s part of homework. My boys read twenty minutes every night. I talk about the books they’re reading and ask them their opinions. My oldest is in the process of reading my second Super Spies book. I know this story by heart and we discuss the actions of the characters. Could they have handled a situation differently? What would you do differently if you were in that situation? These are good talks and I treasure them. I’m hoping by having these discussions, I’m developing critical thinkers, too.

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What else can we do? We can improve the selection of books available for our kids to read. The more books they have to choose from, the more likely they’ll find something that interests them. This means supporting the libraries in our schools and our public libraries. It also means having a lot of books in our homes.

I also believe we need to accept what our kids want to read. If they want to read graphic novels, so be it. It’s better than not reading. That goes for comic books, too.  If these types of books are what interests your child, show them you support their choices. You’ll be glad you did.

Photo via Visual Hunt

When you think about it, reading helps strengthen the family bond. Imagine as your child grows he develops an affinity for a certain genre of books. Wouldn’t it be awesome to sit with your child and talk about the books he’s read? It would boost his self-esteem if you showed genuine interest in what he’s doing. If you showed you valued his opinion.

A Mom who read my first Super Spies book with her daughter, sent me an e-mail stating that my book opened up a family discussion about what her daughter would do if she were in the same situation as my characters. It was a great bonding moment between them. Isn’t that an awesome feeling? Knowing your book sparked a family bonding moment? It was for me!

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Reading is also a great stress reliever. Helping your child develop a love of reading early will help him deal with the pressures of being a teenager. I always lost myself in a book during my teen years and it helped me.

For more information on how reading benefits you and your child, check out this post.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/10-benefits-reading-why-you-should-read-everyday.html

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog, I hope you enjoyed it. If you have any ideas on how to improve literacy, please leave a comment. I’d love to hear from you!

Posted in Slice of LIfe, Uncategorized

A Slice of Life

 

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you. I’m participating in “A Slice of Life” today. I’m excited and a little nervous because this is my first time. I hope you find what I want to share interesting.  It’s a story about my oldest son.

I had gone out to breakfast and then church with a couple of friends. We were talking about making the New York Times Bestsellers List and what it takes to make it. My friend told me the story about another author who made the list by taking out a loan and buying the required number of copies to do this.

Now, it’s been one of my goals to do make this list. I just think it’d be a great accomplishment and I’m working on improving my writing to get there, but what an easy way to do it. However, would I feel the same sense of accomplishment if I made the list the easy way as opposed to having my book make it all on its own?

photo courtesy of allthefreestock.com 

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So, I was talking with my hubby and my son happened to be in the room listening as I explained the story my friend had told me. Just as I said, “I don’t think I’d feel a sense of accomplishment if I made it that way.”

My oldest wrinkled his nose and responded. “Mom, that’s cheating.”

“You’re right,” I said and he rose from the couch and went in the other room.

I was so proud of him. He knows the difference between accomplishing something on your own and buying it. I don’t know where or when he learned that lesson, but I’m so glad he did. I hope I had a part in teaching him that.

It’s funny, when you’re a parent, you think of yourself as the moral compass in your child’s life, you never think that they’re going to be your moral compass. 🙂 It just goes to show you, you never stop learning and we can learn from everyone can’t we?

 

photo courtesy of allthefreestock.com 

http://allthefreestock.com/

 

Thanks for stopping by and reading my “Slice of Life” post. I’d love it if you’d take a look at the other posts and if you want to leave a short snippet of your own slice of life in the comment section, feel free! I’d love to read it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Family

The Comparison Game

Hello everyone!  I hope all is well with you. I’ve had a busy week, working hard on my next project and spending time with the family. 🙂 We went to the movie Pixels on Friday and the boys loved it. Me, I’m more of a Baymax fan, so if you haven’t seen Big Hero Six yet. It’s a must!

I’ve been working hard with my boys and trying to instill in them a sense of individuality. Whenever I catch them comparing themselves to each other or someone else, I immediately tell them everyone is different. We all learn things at our own pace. Everyone has different strengths and weaknesses.

I tell them their focus should be on being the best individuals they can be. Instead of competing with each other or their friends, they should compete with themselves and try to be better than they were the day before.

My youngest wants to be a Ninja. He runs around our yard, climbing trees and jumping over rocks. This summer he wanted to go to Ninja Camp. I asked him the night before camp if he was nervous and he admitted he was a little apprehensive. So I told him, “Be the best Ninja you can be. Don’t worry about all the other Ninjas out there. We’re proud of you no matter what.” He smiled and I could see the relief shining in his eyes. Sometimes we parents forget in our efforts to motivate our kids, we inadvertently communicate that we have high expectations. Sometimes they need to be reminded that they’re loved unconditionally.

Image courtesy of allthefreestock.com 

http://allthefreestock.com/

Turning our focus on our own goals and aspirations is important not only for my boys, but for everyone. In my opinion, it forces us to focus only on ourselves. I don’t mean we need to be selfish. I mean we need to be internally oriented.

I believe all of us need to be internally oriented.It’s less stressful and better for our health. I wonder if we all practiced this, if there would be a decline in stress related illnesses. I’m willing to bet there would be! 🙂

Where did I get this wonderful insight? You guessed it! I read a book. 🙂 The book is titled “Love” by Leo Buscaglia. I read it when I was in college and it really had an effect on me. It’s a great book. Check it out if you’ve lost your way or even if you haven’t. It’s a great read.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today! Please leave a comment if you have anything you’d like to share!

Here are some links to related posts:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniela-tempesta-lcsw/comparing-yourself_b_4441288.html

https://lisaorchard.wordpress.com/2013/03/04/lets-raise-internally-oriented-kids-another-tool-to-help-beat-peer-pressure/

Posted in Family, Health, raising kids

What Cancer has Taught Me

Hello everyone, I hope all is well with you! It has been a while since I’ve posted on my blog. Sorry about that, but I’ve been busy with surgery, vacations, and the kidlets! I’ve also had trouble finding a topic. It seems that I’ve written either a guest post or a post for my own blog on just about everything. 🙂 (I know that’s not true, but it feels that way.)

Then it hit me. I could write about what cancer has taught me. I know. Another post about cancer, but it’s a good one. I promise. (Insert sincere smile here.) When I was younger and working in the competitive environment of insurance sales and something or someone would bother me. I used to ask myself this question. “If I found out I had cancer, would this particular incident upset me?” Surprisingly, the answer was always. “No.” In that instance, I would put the episode behind me and focus on what I needed to accomplish for that day. I tried hard not to wallow in negative emotions. Although, sometimes I did. 🙂 I am a work in progress, after all.

It’s quite ironic I was diagnosed twenty years later with cancer. Does that make me psychic? 😉

Anyway, it’s funny what cancer teaches you. That’s right. There’s a positive side to having cancer. It wakes you up. It gives you clarity. For example, I struggled with being a stay at home mom. Working has always given me a sense of accomplishment and self-worth. For moms who work hard for those teachable moments with their kids while battling the mountain of laundry that seems to come with them, there’s no crowd cheering you on. There’s no award at the end of the day. There’s no real recognition from your peers, which means the sense of accomplishment gets a bit muddled sometimes. Especially when you’re trying to teach your child patience and they choose to scream their little heads off instead of learning it. 🙂  Cancer has taught me that I don’t need any special recognition from my peers. I just need and appreciate the bond I have with my kids.

Cancer has opened my eyes to the little things in everyday life that I may not have appreciated fully or may have even take for granted. Things I would have missed if I had been working full time. For example, those little conversations I have with my boys at odd hours of the day. Are transformers fiction or non-fiction? Is Texas bigger than Michigan? Is a Tyrannosaurus Rex bigger than our house?

Tyrannosaurus Rex Drawing - Tyrannosaurus Rex Fine Art Print

Another example is a hug. Something as simple as a hug can have a huge impact on someone’s day. When I drop my boys off to school, I hug them and tell them I love them. In fact, I do this every time I leave the house and they don’t come with me. I’ve practiced this ever since they were babies. I know this sounds weird or even a little fatalistic, but I always thought, “What if I get in a car accident on the way home?” I want my boys’ last memory of me to be a hug and my last words to be “I love you.” Surviving cancer has taught me that I’m on the right track. Now, I hug more often and tell my boys I’m proud of them and that I’m glad they’re in my life. I believe kids need to hear that sometimes.

Believe it or not, conventional business theory states that there are ...

I always tried to live my life as if each day was my last, so it would be a worthwhile day. I practiced this as much as I could, but now after cancer I’m even better at it. Now, I don’t oscillate between the two pillars of I should be working and I should be home with the kids. I know where I’m supposed to be.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. Please leave a comment or ask a question! I’d love to hear from you!